Phoenix sneak peek, Part 1

Let me caution, Phoenix is not for casual editing (like cropping and removing red-eye). Of course you can do those things in Phoenix, but that's a waste of the engine's potential. We are targeting our user base of Photoshop-using hobbyists at Worth1000 and built it around their specifications, so including a lot of advanced editing effects was an absolute must.

Our goal with Aviary in general was to create a portable web-based suite where people could collaboratively create really rich audio-visual content (the type that generally goes viral).

Case in point, here's an early technical demonstration of a new tool we're including in our next build - the color replacement brush.

<a href='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuE_Ox4bHXY' class='author' target='_blank' rel='nofollow'><b>flash video</b></a>

I'll be publishing some more advanced videos showcasing effects that are possible to create in Phoenix (the full tool) in future posts.

For now, here are some Phoenix-created images... not bad for an online tool, huh?

So why recreate an image editing tool online when there are fantastic products like Adobe Photoshop, GIMP and Pixelmator available for desktop usage?

Simple: none of them allow for easy collaboration. Every tool in the Aviary suite does.

If two people wanted to collaborate on an image (let's say to participate in a game of Photoshop Tennis or give critique on different mockups), a whole bunch of limiting variables would need to be in place before it could happen:

- Both people would need to own Photoshop (or the same program) on their computer.

- Both people would need access to an FTP site or image hosting site. The file URL would need to be manually copied and pasted to be shared.

- Both people would need a separate location to comment, and possibly a separate location where comments could be listed privately or publicly.

- Revisions would be manually maintained and stored separately on each person's computer (unless they shared them with each other).

- If they are trying to track rights, royalties and attributions, they would need some kind of complex contractual agreement in place.

With any tool in the Aviary suite, all a user needs is a browser with the Flash Player installed and they can bypass all of these variables. Is there a trade-off for production-grade work that must be a certain resolution due to Flash's limitations? Absolutely. But is there a gain in terms of quick collaboration? No question. For mockups, collaboration and feedback, the gain is essential.

My teams work flow currently uses Google Docs in much the same way. We draft documents in Google Docs, and discuss and revise them in BaseCamp. Finally once we're done collaboration we recreate or import the work in a production-quality tool like Microsoft Word to create the final output. It's an invaluable addition to our workflow. We suspect that Aviary will be valuable in much the same way for professionals.

As for hobbyists creating content for fun and web display, Phoenix should be perfect to create incredibly rich content.

For an invitation to Phoenix, sign up on the right hand side. And don't forget to check back for videos of Phoenix itself in action.]]